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Squash Players Face Balancing Act

Squash is one of several sports at Deerfield that require extensive outside commitment, even while the season is in full swing. For some players, balancing tournaments with regular practices and games, as well as Deerfield’s demanding workload, can be quite a challenge.

“People play in tournaments for college exposure, to improve and, hopefully, because they enjoy it,” said Connor Henderson ’15.

Sam Khalifa ’14 said, “I played [many of these tournaments] when I was doing squash full time in Egypt. Before I thought about moving to the U.S. and making education my main priority, my only goal was to become a professional squash player, so I played in tournaments for competition and experience.”

Addie Fulton ’14, captain of the girl’s squash team, explained the JCTs, or Junior Championship Tours: “They’re a series of big tournaments that are pretty similar to nationals at the end of the season, but kids play in them for good competition and to help their ranking.”

These outside tournaments often conflict with Deerfield schedules, and they require special approval when a student would miss more than the five class days allotted by the “Pursuit of Excellence” policy.

“For example,” said Khalifa, “last year I had the U.S. Junior Open in December, and the tournament was more than five days, so I had to talk to the administration. [Fortunately] they were very understanding. Three months after, in April, there was a qualification for the World Open in Cairo that was a week long, so I talked to the school, and they were, again, very supportive.”

“It’s very difficult to do homework on those weekends,” said Lindsey Dewey ’14. “It’s never been a major conflict and teachers are usually understanding, but it is difficult sometimes to manage the two.”

“I try to do [tournaments] over breaks,” said Fulton, “so that I don’t have to miss a squash match or school in general, but I am playing in two or three this winter that I have to leave school for during the season. I just plan a week ahead and tell my teachers so that I know what I am missing; I try to meet with them the night I get back.”

Other players are equally as careful to not let national tournaments interfere with Deerfield’s demands. Said Cameron Dewey ‘14, “I’m not playing tournaments [in the winter] because the team is my first commitment and we need all of our players for 90% of our matches.”

“I have a tough Deerfield schedule,” said Khalifa. “[So] all the tournaments have been reduced; I’m not playing as many tournaments as I’m used to. That was something I knew I would have to give up for an excellent education here.”

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